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Withdrawal of Rs 2,000 notes statutory exercise not demonetisation: RBI tells Delhi HC

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The withdrawal of Rs 2,000 banknotes is a statutory exercise, not demonetisation, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) told the Delhi High Court on Tuesday.

The high court was hearing a petition challenging the decision by the RBI and SBI that enables the exchange of Rs 2,000 notes without the requirement of an identity proof. The plea filed by Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay said the decision was arbitrary and against the laws enacted to curb corruption.

Responding to the plea, the RBI said the decision to enable the exchange of Rs 2,000 notes was taken for operational convenience as the withdrawal is not demonetisation but merely a “statutory exercise.”

In his plea, advocate Upadhyay said he wasn’t challenging the decision withdraw the Rs 2000 notes but the decision to exchange the said denomination without requiring any slip or identity proof. The petition argued that the exchange of currency should only be allowed through bank accounts linked with Aadhaar.

It claimed that the current arrangement would only enable mafia and gangsters like “Atiq Ahmed’s henchmen” and Maoists while arguing that today almost every poor person has a Jan Dhan account and BPL persons are also connected to bank accounts.

A Delhi HC bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramanium Prasad said an appropriate order will be passed on the plea.

Advocate Upadhyay claimed in his public interest litigation (PIL) that the notifications by the RBI and the State Bank of India (SBI) that enable the exchange of Rs 2000 notes without requiring a requisition slip and identity proof were arbitrary, irrational and offend Articles 14 of the Indian Constitution.

The PIL claimed that cash transaction in in high value currency is the main source of corruption and used for illegal activities like terrorism, naxalism, separatism, radicalism, gambling, smuggling, money laundering, kidnapping, extortion, bribing and dowry, etc. and a large amount of the currency has reached either in individual’s locker or has “been hoarded by the separatists, terrorists, Maoists, drug smugglers, mining mafias & corrupt people”.

RBI counsel, Senior advocate Parag P Tripathi argued that the emphasised that the court cannot interfere in such matters and the decision was taken to allow exchange of the Rs 2000 currency note for “operational convenience” as the said banknote is not commonly used and other denominations continue to meet currency requirements.

Advocate Tripathi said that no points mentioned by the petitioner impinge or deal with constitutional issues and as such the court cannot interfere.

On May 19, the RBI had announced withdrawal of Rs 2,000 currency notes from circulation, and said existing notes in circulation can either be deposited in bank accounts or exchanged by September 30.

However, the 2,000 notes will continue to be legal tender, it had said, adding that the notes can be exchanged for other denominations from any bank starting May 23, albeit with a limit of Rs. 20,000 per transaction.

Both the RBI and the SBI issued notifications stating that no requisition slip or identity proof is required for exchanging the Rs 2,000 notes.

2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Lok Sabha elections 2024: Google Doodle marks the start of polls with index finger voting symbol

Google released a doodle today, to mark the begining of Lok Sabha Elections 2024 in India.

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Google unveiled a doodle today, with an inked index finger to commemorate the start of the voting for Indian Lok Sabha elections 2024. This symbolic image represents the country’s ongoing voting process as the general election’s first phase gets under way.

The nationwide availability of this doodle will encourage voters in different states to visit polling booths to cast their votes.

Google Doodles are quick, temporary updates to the Google logo that reflect various national and international topics, such as holidays, significant occasions, and influential people who have had a significant impact on society.

Users can engage in a range of engaging experiences with these Doodles because they are presented in a variety of formats, including photos, animations, slideshows, videos, and interactive games.

Meanwhile, the BJP-led NDA and the INDIA alliance are expected to engage in a fierce contest in this year. 102 constituencies are being covered by elections being held in 17 states and 4 Union Territories (UTs) during 1st phase of election. Over 16.63 crore eligible voters will have 1.87 lakh polling places set up for the first phase of voting. There are 8.4 crore men, 8.23 crore women, and 11,371 voters of a third gender among the eligible voters.

A total of 1625 candidates from various parties will contest in the first phase of elections. Nitin Gadkari, K Annamalai, Jitin Prasada, Jitan Ram Manjhi, Nakul Nath, Gaurav Gogoi, Imran Masood, Karti Chidambaram, Tamilisai Soundararajan, and Dayanidhi Maran are among the important candidates whose fates would be decided today.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has announced that polling will take place from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm. The results of the voting will pe announced on June 4, as per ECI.

Today, April 19, a number of states, including the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Uttarakhand, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and portions of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Tripura, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Manipur, Assam, and Bihar, will hold their first phase of elections.

Voting in Phase 2 is slated to take place on April 26. Phase 3 will take place on May 7, Phase 4 on May 13, Phase 5 on May 20, Phase 6 on May 25, and Phase 7 on June 1.

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2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Prime Minister Narendra Modi urges citizens to vote in record numbers as voting for first phase of Lok Sabha elections begins on 102 seats across India

Union Home Minister Amit Shah also urged citizens to vote in large numbers and added that it is not only meant to determine the fate of a Lok Sabha or a candidate but also for shaping a bright future for the country.

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Voting for the first phase of Lok Sabha elections is taking place on 102 seats spread all over India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to X and urged citizens to vote in record numbers. He said he particularly called upon the young and first time voters to vote in large numbers. He added that every vote counts and every voice matters.

Congress leader P Chidambaram and RSS supremo Mohan Bhagwat cast their votes in Chennai and Nagpur, respectively. Chidambaram was confident that INDIA bloc will sweep all 39 seats in Tamil Nadu. Union Home Minister Amit Shah also urged citizens to vote in large numbers and added that it is not only meant to determine the fate of a Lok Sabha or a candidate but also for shaping a bright future for the country.

He appealed to all the voters who are voting in this phase to vote in large numbers because every vote of theirs has the power to create a secure, developed, and self-reliant India. He appealed to the people to choose a strong and decisive leadership that has shown the determination to free the country from corruption, nepotism, and appeasement while fulfilling its promises.

In the first phase, elections are being held on all seats in Uttarakhand (5), Tamil Nadu (39), Meghalaya (2), Arunachal Pradesh (2), Mizoram (1), Puducherry (1), Nagaland (1), Andaman and Nicobar Islands (1)   and Lakshadweep (1), Sikkim (1).  Besides, there is voting in 8 seats in Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra, 6 seats in Madhya Pradesh, 12 seats in Rajasthan, 4 in Bihar, 2 in Manipur, 3 in West Bengal, and 1 seat each in Jammu and Kashmir, Tripura, and Chhattisgarh. Assembly elections are also taking place on 60 seats in Arunachal Pradesh and 32 seats in Sikkim.

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Enforcement Directorate says Arvind Kejriwal is deliberately eating mangoes, sweets, taking sugar with tea to increase his blood sugar level and create ground for bail

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) made the claim before special judge for ED and CBI cases, Kaveri Baweja, who gave directions to the Tihar jail authorities to file a report in the matter which should also include Kejriwal’s diet chart.

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The Enforcement Directorate told the court on Thursday that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, arrested in liquor policy case, is taking high sugar intake like mangoes and sweets every day deliberately in spite of suffering from type 2 diabetes so that he can create grounds for medical bail. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) made the claim before special judge for ED and CBI cases, Kaveri Baweja, who gave directions to the Tihar jail authorities to file a report in the matter which should also include Kejriwal’s diet chart.

Kejriwal had moved court and also sought permission to consult his regular doctor via video conference because his sugar levels were fluctuating. The judge directed the authorities concerned to file the report by tomorrow, when the court will take up the matter again.

 Advocate Vivek Jain, counsel for Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal responded to the ED’s argument and said this is an issue made by Enforcement Directorate so that home-cooked food should also be stopped. He said this would have a major impact on his health. Advocate Jain added that whatever Kejriwal is eating is as per his doctors prescribed dietary chart. He said the matter is sub judice and they do not have anything to say.

Advocate Vivek Jain objected to the Enforcement Directorate’s submission and said that the agency is making these allegations only for the media. He said that some toffee and other things are given to diabetic patients so that they can maintain their sugar levels. Jain added that Kejriwal is withdrawing his application and will file a better one later.

AAP minister Atishi Marlena said that Arvind Kejriwal had fallen ill and lost about 4.5 kg since his arrest on March 21. She addressed a press conference where the AAP leader said, Arvind Kejriwal is a severe diabetes patient but he never lets his health issue come as the way of his in the service to the nation.

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